The 1862 Morrill Act gave states grants in the form of federal land parcels to build universities specifically intended to extend education to a broad spectrum of the population. And when such a grant to New York State enabled the founding of Cornell University in 1865, it was with the understanding that Cornell’s “land-grant” mission would include the practical application of its scholarly research to provide people with knowledge that they could put to use in professions like farming and engineering, and – a radical notion at the time – even with the mechanics of everyday life. If this were done, went the reasoning, the result would be stronger communities and a better quality of life for all individuals of all social classes.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, founded in 1913, still follows that imperative today, a century later. It offers resources and education to the public through ongoing programming in areas of horticulture, 4-H youth development, family and consumer science and environmental programs. Its Master Gardener program trains volunteers who receive research-based instruction on horticulture from Cornell Cooperative Extension and then agree to share that knowledge with the public through a variety of activities. A new graduating class of Master Gardeners is trained every other year, and those who stay on in the program are required to obtain continuing education annually to keep up with the latest developments in horticulture.
In honor of its 100th anniversary, and of all that it has achieved, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County will hold a Centennial Celebration on Saturday, June 1 under the tent in the parking lot of its Education Center, located at 232 Plaza Road in Kingston Plaza. The master gardeners will host their annual Great Plant Swap and Sale from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Official opening ceremonies will take place at 11 a.m., led by guest speakers Ulster County executive Mike Hein, City of Kingston mayor Shayne Gallo and guest host emcee Ward Todd, president and CEO of the Ulster Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Live musical entertainment will be provided by Rich Hines, family-friendly Ratboy, Jr., old-timey Americana music by the Old Double E and a rock ‘n’ roll dance party with Mister Kick. There will be a centennial birthday cake, art activities for the kids, 4-H exhibits, hula-hooping, a rocketry demo, a “fuzzy and feathered friends” exhibit and the “Centennial-Yard Dash.” The Education Center will host an art exhibit called “People, Places & Things in Ulster County” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring Ulster County-themed artwork from various local artists.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Centennial Celebration, Saturday, June 1, Plant swap & sale 9-11:30 a.m., festivities 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free, Education Center, 232 Plaza Road, Kingston; (845) 340-3990, www.cceulster.org.